For people, vomiting could be seen as a severe sign of sickness, but normally not for cats. It is common for cats to throw up, but it’s never normal for them to do so. If your cat follows the conditions mentioned below, it’s better to closely observe them for a while and then send your cat to the vet when it worsens.
· Bile & Gastric Acid
Cats are more likely to vomit than humans because of their different body structures. People walk upright and our hearts are located in a high position relative to the stomach. So, we rarely have gastric reflux, excessive stomach acid and suffer from heartburn. Cats and dogs, on the other hand, walk on four feet, whose esophagus is parallel to the ground, can easily suffer from acid reflux, heartburn, nausea and throwing up.
In general, bile is in pale yellow color, while gastric acid is while/clear with bubbles.
If the vomit is in yellow or white/clear color, as long as the cat is not frail or in low spirit, don’t worry too much. However, you find that the vomited fluid is dark/light chocolate-colored, it could be a bleeding problem that requires immediate medical care.
In this situation, try to let the cat eat less and more meals. You can also raise the height of the food bowl, remember not too high.
As cats lick themselves, their rough tongues pull loose fur out of their coats which is then swallowed. Some hair will be digested and passed out. But some other large volumes of hair can accumulate in the stomach and are not easily digested, leading the cat to vomit a hairball.
It is highly related to the living habit of the cat and you can follow some tips to prevent them from vomiting hairballs:
1. Let the cat to eat less and more meals
2. Grooming frequently: not only help to prevent excessive accumulation of hairballs, but also enhance feelings between the cat and parents.
If your cats frequently throw up hairballs (short hair ≥ 1 time/month, long hair ≥ 2 times/month), check the followings to see if any of these applied to your cat:
- Is there potential stress that causes excessive licking?
- Does your cat have pica, such as thread balls?
- Is it due to licking the long-haired cat too much?
In case of the answer to any of the above is “yes”, your cat may need more observation and care. If the situation continues, it is recommended to seek medical treatment.
· Undigested Food
There are two types of undigested food:
1. Throw up shortly after eating (within an hour)
2. Throw up after 2 hours or longer
If it does not occur often, the first situation could be caused by eating too fast, eating too much, drinking too much water, running after eating, fighting with other cats after eating, having not fresh food. Try to calm your cat down and use cat slow bowls to slow down the cat’s eating habit.
In summer, the longer the food kept in the feeder, the easier to grow bacteria which may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and vomit. It is better to put away the unfinished food after 30-60 minutes to ensure the freshness of the food. Don’t forget to refill the water bowl frequently.
If your cat vomit undigested food after 2 hours or longer, it usually comes with some stink and acid smell or dark-colored liquid. The cat may suffer from other strong reactions such as pain, growling, not allowing you to touch their stomach, frail and in low spirit. Seek to medical care immediately.
Last but not the least: remember to take pictures of the vomit to help the doctor to diagnose quickly and accurately the happening situation. Also, long-term vomiting and persistent vomiting, regardless of the above conditions, the cat should be taken to the vet as soon as possible.